Nano-hydroxyapatite-coated metal-ceramic composite of iron-tricalcium phosphate: Improving the surface wettability, adhesion and proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells in vitro
Thin radio-frequency magnetron sputter deposited nano-hydroxyapatite (HA) films were prepared on the surface of a Fe-tricalcium phosphate (Fe-TCP) bioceramic composite, which was obtained using a conventional powder injection moulding technique. The obtained nano-hydroxyapatite coated Fe-TCP biocomposites (nano-HA-Fe-TCP) were studied with respect to their chemical and phase composition, surface morphology, water contact angle, surface free energy and hysteresis. The deposition process resulted in a homogeneous, single-phase HA coating. The ability of the surface to support adhesion and the proliferation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) was studied using biological short-term tests in vitro. The surface of the uncoated Fe-TCP bioceramic composite showed an initial cell attachment after 24 h of seeding, but adhesion, proliferation and growth did not persist during 14 days of culture. However, the HA-Fe-TCP surfaces allowed cell adhesion, and proliferation during 14 days. The deposition of the nano-HA films on the Fe-TCP surface resulted in higher surface energy, improved hydrophilicity and biocompatibility compared with the surface of the uncoated Fe-TCP. Furthermore, it is suggested that an increase in the polar component of the surface energy was responsible for the enhanced cell adhesion and proliferation in the case of the nano-HA-Fe-TCP biocomposites.